Enjoying the Local Species

Blue Mountain Barrel House Local Species

Blue Mountain Barrel House Local Species

Blue Mountain Brewery is about 2 and a half hours away, so it’s definitely not a “DC Beer,” however, I still think of it as local. In fact, Blue Mountain Brewery makes quality craft brews, and while it’s taken me a little while to find my favorite of their beers, I have enjoyed the ones I’ve tasted so far.  So, admittedly, while I ended 6th Annual DC Beer Week  (August 17-24) with a non-DC beer, I did go with a “Local Species,” and it definitely hit the spot.

The Local Species (brewery, untappd) is a Belgian Pale Ale made by Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, Virginia.  The beer was a dark, hazy, reddish-amber with an off-white, foamy head and a lot of lacing on the glass.  On the nose, there was toasty maltiness mixed with hints of red apple and caramel.  In the mouth, there is a maltiness and some grass mixed with the slightest hint of something sour, maybe sour grapefruit, and some toffee-like sweetness, probably from the bourbon barrel the beer was aged in. The beer had a nice body with a long, smooth finish with only a hint of hoppy bitterness.

Cork and closeup of Blue Mountain Barrel House Local SpeciesIs this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $11 for 750ml, this beer is easy to drink, food-friendly, and well-balanced.  Hubby and I have started the fall race season training, so I enjoyed the Local Species on a Sunday evening while recovering from one of my first longer training runs.  It was a great beer for putting up my feet, relaxing, and catching up on my Runner’s World and Vogue magazine reading.

Question of the Day: How far away is still local for you when it comes to buying local beer or wine?  For you, is buying local more about supporting small producers than it is about actually buying local (for example, is buying a Robert Mondavi wine when you’re in Napa still buying local)?

Price: $11 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks

Ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

One thing to know about how Hubby and I run is that even though we both are usually training for the same race (in this case, the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital Half Marathon), we don’t run together.  That is true in training and during races.  At a race, we’ll start at the finish line together, wish each other a good race, and then go our separate ways.  Hubby is much faster than I am, so he’s always at the finish line cheering me across it.  From there, we grab our water and banana, take some photos, and recap our race experiences.

When it comes to training, we both usually hit the treadmills, and running together on treadmills isn’t really fun.  Plus, honestly, I think there’s also an element of enjoying personal quiet timing.  We both run with music, but it’s also a chance to just be in our own heads and go.

11 miles on the treadmill doneA few Saturdays ago, we both had to get in an 11-mile training run, and we ended up actually hitting the treadmills at the same time.  I don’t know what it was about those 11 miles, but for me, the run was a slog from start to finish. Maybe the problem was the couple of previous runs, including my 10.5 mile run the week before, were good, solid runs.  Maybe the gym was a little too hot, so I was over-heating a little.  Or, maybe I just wasn’t feeling it, so it was a rough run.  Whatever it was, from mile 3 on, I was looking at the mileage counter thinking there was no way I was going to make 11 miles, and by mile 9, my 6 mintue:1minute run/walk intervals switch to 3:1 intervals.  Instead of being motivated by Hubby when he finished before me, I was green with envy, and I was sure that was going to be the end of the run, even though I hadn’t actually gone the full distance.  But, somehow, I struggled through, and the moment I saw I was at 11 miles, I dropped the speed down to the slowest walk I could do while still be upright.

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter's Nap

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter’s Nap

To say it was a bad run would be an understatement, but it was done.  I had just enough energy to drink my post-run protein smoothie, stretch, foam roll, shower, and open the beer I couldn’t stop thinking about from the moment I stumbled into the condo.

Long Winter’s Nap is a Maibock by Blue Mountain Barrel House, a division of Blue Mountain Brewery in Virginia (brewery).  The beer was a medium golden-amber that was almost honey-like with 1/4 inch of off-white, sudsy foam that lingered.  On the nose, there was a breadiness mixed with hints of grains, apples, and nail polish remover and a sweetness on the finish.  In the mouth, there was toffee, bread, and hints of apples and honey.  It had a medium body and some lacing.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $13 for 750 ml, this beer was a slightly heavier, very smooth winter ale.  Usually I find that winter ales taste a little too much like I’m drinking beer that has been steeped in potpourri or that has had pine needles left to soak in it, but this winter ale didn’t have any of that.  There were hints of the season without it being a dominant characteristic, which is exactly what I like.

Blue Mountain Barrel House logo and corkAll in all, I’m not sure if it was the beer or the long run (or maybe a bit of both), but it definitely left me feeling ready for a long winter’s nap by the time I was done with it.  It paired nicely with the spinach and artichoke ravioli that Hubby made for dinner and was even better as I stretched out on the couch to watch a movie.  Without a doubt, it was the best part of my run!

Question of the Day:  What do you think of winter seasonal beers?  Do you have a favorite?

Price: $13 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

A Friday Night Full Nelson

Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale

Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale

August is Virginia Craft Beer Month, and I had grand plans of tasting and writing a lot about beer because, let’s be honest, when it comes to alcohol while wine is my first love, beer isn’t far behind.  However, big things have been happening in the A Glass After Work household, and while I’m not quite ready to share the news publically yet, let’s just say that my focus has been elsewhere and suddenly the month has gotten away from me.  Last Friday was the culmination of everything that’s been going on, so in a true Mid-Atlantic celebratory fashion, Hubby broiled some crab cakes and I cracked open a Virginia craft beer to kick back with and just enjoy the moment.

The Blue Mountain Brewery Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale (brewery) had a medium amber color with very little head.  On the nose, there was something a floral mixed in with hints of orange peel.  In the mouth, there was citrus and hops that gave it a touch of bitterness without being too much.  The beer had a lighter medium body with lighter carbonation.

Full Nelson Virginia Pale Ale CloseupIs this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable beer.   The beer was a little lighter than I expected, but had good flavor.  What was particularly exciting for me, though, was that this beer was a great match with the crab cakes.  Instead of overpowering the food’s flavor, this beer played a great supporting role during dinner, and in fact, it actually enhanced the flavors of the crab cake.  After dinner, I opened another can, which was enjoyable on its own.

Question of the Day: Are you a beer drinker or do you mostly stick with wine?  If you enjoy a cold one every now and then, what type of beer do you generally grab?

Price: I forget (sorry!)
Purchased at Arrowine
Overall: 3 Corks